The amendments to the Federal Constitution to lower the voting age to 18 years cannot be implemented immediately because several matters must be resolved first. The related amendment to article 119 of the Federal Constitution was passed during the Pakatan Harapan administration two years ago. The amendment is via Section 3 of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2019.
KUALA LUMPUR : The amendments to the Federal Constitution related to the lowering of the voting age to 18 years cannot be implemented immediately after the Bill was approved in 2019 as several matters must be resolved first, the Dewan Rakyat was told on Wednesday.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said several issues, including voters registration, must be looked into, to ensure its smooth implementation.
“When the Constitution was amended in 2019, the time frame given was until 2023. If we look at the timeline set by the Election Commission (EC), the processes will be completed by September 2022 for the system to run smoothly.
“… several things must be done such as the electoral roll must be updated to remove those who have died, fallen sick, gone insane or imprisoned. Similarly, those over the age of 90, the number of which has exceeded 7,000 people, have not been removed from the voter registration record.
“The system is not expected to be ready so soon after the Constitution was amended,” he said during the oral question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.
Wan Junaidi was responding to a supplementary question from Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (PH-Setiawangsa), who wanted to know why the government needs to wait for the court’s decision to implement Undi 18 when the matter was a constitutional amendment that had been agreed upon by all parties during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.
In addition, Wan Junaidi said the Covid-19 pandemic that hit the country had also prevented the government and the EC from taking action to implement the constitutional amendment.
In reply to an original question from Abdul Latiff Abdul Rahman (PAS-Kuala Krai) on the steps taken by the EC to ensure that voters aged 18 would go to the polls in the next general election, Wan Junaidi said the EC through the Election Academy (APR) had implemented the Voter Education Programme to reach out to citizens, especially youths and this is still ongoing until Wednesday.
He said until Sept 30, the Voter Education Programme was implemented with the collaboration of several institutions of higher learning, and 2,740 students had participated in the face-to-face sessions while 152 virtual sessions were participated by 50,858 people.
“The programme aims to give an understanding of the election process conducted in Malaysia as well as provide answers to issues often raised during elections.
“With awareness and understanding of the democratic and electoral process, it is hoped that they will fulfil their responsibility to cast their votes during the election,” he said.